A few weeks back I discussed the Silverdome, and Dr. Humphreys had some additional notes about the Silverdome.
After the sale, the Wall Street Journal recently published an article looking at many of the unused stadiums of the world. While the Silverdome tops the list, there is quite a number of other stadiums, which once were seen as the great stadium of their time, only to be out of yes many years later (or months in the case of the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing) The stadiums in order, as well as their current status:
Pontiac Silverdome – Sold to Canadian investor for $583,000. Original cost: $56 million
Reliant Astrodome – The first domed stadium in the world, has been empty for 9 years, may become a planetarium…
Pyramid Arena (Memphis, picture above) – Empty for five years, now is being rented as a Bass Pro Shops megastore for $35,000 a month. Sounds like fishing and outdoor gear must be selling pretty well in the South, for Bass Pro to have no problem paying the $35,000 a month rent.
RFK Stadium – Only Major League Soccer’s D.C. United play there anymore.
Balboa Stadium (San Diego) – The local school district is leasing it, however the Wall Street Journal reports athletes are too afraid to compete in the stadium because of fear of injury because of the horrible playing surface and track.
Olympics Stadium (Montreal) – It took the city of Montreal about 30 years to pay off the debt on this stadium. Now the biggest event in the stadium: H1N1 vaccination clinics.
Beijing National Stadium – Cost: $500 million. Current annual operating revenue: $10 million. In 2008, after the Olympics, only youth soccer was hosted in the Bird’s Nest which is considered to be too big to be practical for any of the professional sports in China. There has been talk of making it into a shopping mall, and is currently hosting the snow festival, by using water to make an artificial snow park.
Alamodome (San Antonio) – Built in 1993 at a cost of $200 million, the only game played there anymore: The Alamo Bowl.
The Forum (Inglewood, CA) – Gretzky came here and made hockey big in L.A. Now the teams have all been gone for ten years, and the stadium was purchased by the Faithful Central Bible Chruch for $16 million. However, the church no longer holds services there, and are openly advertising the stadium as being available for rent. Biggest events of the year: Lakers preseason game and low income family health clinics
Looking at this list is quite sad, considering the money spent on these stadiums (especially considering how much public money was sunk into these stadiums). It seems the recent sale of the Silverdome coupled with the economy (and maybe a growth in public awareness?) has lead to a heightened interest not only in the potential impact stadiums have had, but now also in what becomes of these stadiums after their usefulness is over. The actual list of stadiums with no tenants is longer, and really makes one step back and think about what should be done with all these old stadiums. There are additional facts and notes in the Wall Street Journal article. My curiosity is how much some of these stadiums cost local governments in upkeep for all the years after they go out of use. It might be better to just blow up some of these stadiums, than to let them slowly fall apart while paying upkeep fee’s on them year after year.